Beat the Streets - the all-day music festival fundraiser - is fast approaching. Here’s a quick lowdown on the event and a chat with one of the more hairy acts taking centre stage...
For a whole day at the end of January, the city’s biggest music venues will be alive and kicking with music from over eighty local acts, who are taking to the stage to combat Nottingham’s growing homelessness problem.
The UK has seen a dramatic increase in homelessness in the past decade. According to figures released in January 2017, there’s an estimated 4,134 people sleeping rough in this country on any one night, and rough sleeping has increased by 23% in the East Midlands alone. With reforms to the benefit system, including the introduction of Universal Credit and a severe lack of social housing, it seems that without public concern or support, things can only get worse.
That’s where Beat the Streets comes in. DHP Family, in collaboration with I’m Not From London, Hockley Hustle, Farmyard Records and Rough Trade have pooled their resources for the day-long event and will be donating all money raised to Nottinghamshire based charity and housing association, Framework. DHP’s George Akins hopes the day will be a force for positive change, using music to “bring the people of Nottingham together to raise funds and help make a difference where it is so desperately needed.”
All proceeds from ticket sales, merchandise sales and bar takings will go towards improving the effectiveness of Framework’s street outreach team, who work to engage with Nottingham’s rough sleepers and identify those in the greatest need of support. Since 2001, Framework has become one of the largest organisations of its kind in the country and they continuously strive to integrate vulnerable people back into the community.
One band taking time out of their weekend to get involved is three piece garage-rock band Crosa Rosa. Self-described as "pseudo psyche performed by sweaty hairy men-children," they formed in the latter part of 2014 and have been making waves both locally and overseas since.
The trio, made up of guitarist and vocalist Joe Weatherall, drummer Kegan Clarke and bassist Joe Fisher, were more than thrilled to be invited to play and raise money for Beat the Streets, but also want to use it as an opportunity to support those who helped them on their way up.
They said: “We’ve worked with many of the event organisers and promoters involved in the festival since we started as a band, and they’ve been with us since day one through to this year. Homelessness seems to be a growing issue in Notts, so it’s great to see companies like Framework and others doing such hard work within the community, and we’re lucky to have people like that in Nottingham that help and support people on the streets.”
In 2017, Crosa Rosa barely had time for their feet to touch the ground. As well as playing a string of festivals and gigs in the UK, their music has taken them across the globe. Most notably, they flew out to Seoul in September to play multiple nights at South Korea’s largest music festival, Zandari Fest.
The guys were quick to discover that gigs in Seoul were a completely different ball game to gigs in Nottingham: “In Asia, people are so interested in what you are doing, playing and eating; it was bizarre at first. Everyone at the gigs would not stop moving and dancing, and on our last show in Seoul everyone just invaded the stage."
Despite a rocky start to their trip, including a fight between two taxi drivers and getting lost in the backstreets of Busan, South Korea was quick to find a place in their hearts. “You’ll never find another place on Earth where the people watching are more interested and we felt so welcome over the time we spent there. We’ve been invited back to Seoul, and hopefully we’ll be over there again later in the year.”
As well as touring, the trio have been putting time aside to work on their new music in a couple of studios across the UK. After releasing their debut EP Pantophobia in 2015, they have enjoyed success with a slew of psychedelic-grunge singles, including latest release Sweety.
However, these new tracks may see Crosa Rosa’s sound move in a different direction. They said: “In the past we’ve took a very DIY approach by recording and producing most of the past stuff ourselves in our practice room, so it’s nice to have someone else’s input into the recordings. Hopefully we’ll have some new stuff to release later in the year.
“We’ve got a few festival performances later this year like Handmade and some yet to be announced, including another overseas one. There’s also a few dates in London and Manchester, and we’re planning other Notts shows soon, so keep your eyes peeled.”
As this is the first year of Beat the Streets, nobody is quite sure what to expect. However, as well as raising vital funds, the festival will give folk the chance to see top national touring bands that would normally sell-out venues like Rock City and Rescue Rooms. With the likes of Sleaford Mods, Ferocious Dog and The Invisible Orchestra gracing the line-up, Crosa Rosa are in good company.
Although they’ll be focused on their own set, there are certain acts the guys are itching to see themselves, including Sheffield-born rockers Rolo Tomassi. “We’ve seen them a few times and it always goes off in their sets, they have such great energy. We’re also excited to see our mateys in Eyre Llew, Kagoule, Grey Hairs and Slumb Party. Daudi Matsiko has an incredible voice and he’s really worth checking out too.
“This festival is such a great idea and it’s an opportunity to show our support for this cause alongside loads of other musicians. It’s bound to be an awesome event, filled with all the best Nottingham music.”
Beat The Streets takes place on Sunday 28 January. You can catch Crosa Rosa on the Rock City Basement stage at 2.15pm. All ticket information, venues and the line-up can be found on the Beat the Streets website.